THE SOL DUC CABIN IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Categories: Homes / Dwellings, TinyHouse
This weekend cabin in a Washington national park, by Seattle architect Tom Kundig, features a protective steel exterior that slides across its windows and a floor raised up on stilts to prevent flooding.
Sol Duc Cabin was named as one of the ten recipients of the American Institute of Architects' 2014 Housing Awards earlier this week. Completed in 2011, it provides a rural retreat for a couple who take regular fishing expeditions in the Olympic National Park.
Kundig, principal designer at Olson Kundig Architects, was asked by the clients to create a "virtually indestructible" residence that could be left uninhabited for weeks at a time. It needed to be both secure and protected from the occasional flooding of a nearby river.
He responded by creating a 30-square-metre cabin clad externally with unfinished steel and raised up on four steel columns, similar to the Delta Shelter he completed in 2005.
"The cabin's rugged patina and raw materiality respond to the surrounding wilderness while its verticality provides a safe haven during occasional floods from the nearby river," said the architect.
Windows can be secured behind steel shutters that blend into the walls. Residents open them using a mechanical system of gears, drive shafts and U-joints, which are set into motion by turning a wheel.
"Sol Duc Cabin opens to the environment through human power," said the architect.
The main space inside the cabin is taken up by a double-height living and dining area with a compact kitchen along one edge. A small washroom is tucked away at the back, while a ladder leads up to a mezzanine loft that functions as a sleeping area.
Walls, floors and ceilings are lined with timber panels. There is also a balcony with a see-through mesh floor, which faces out towards the river.
An overhanging roof provides some shelter over the balcony and shades the windows from the harsh sunlight.
The entire building was prefabricated and then assembled on site, reducing its impact on the rural landscape.
Built for a couple that loves to get away on weekend fly fishing trips, the Sol Duc Cabin in Washington was designed by the talented team at Olson Kundig Architects.
The weekend retreat needed to serve several needs for the owner. First of all, it needed to be virtually indestructible, seeing that the property is uninhabited for several weeks at any given time. Kundig built a protective steel exterior that slides across all of the windows, and can be easily controlled by the residents using a mechanically driven wheel. It also needed to be able to withstand the frequent flooding caused by the local river, and to do this the designers built the structure on elevated stilts. The multi-level interior features timber panels lining the floor, walls and even ceiling. There’s a kitchen on the main floor along with a wash room, while a bedroom loft is located upstairs. All in all, the space is 30 square meters, and features everything one needs to thrive in the great outdoors. A river-facing balcony offers up some nice outdoor social space, while a cantilevered roof provides some nice protection from the harsh sun light. This is definitely a fisherman’s dream.
With a cantilevered roof that provides solar shading and protection from the elements, Sol Duc Cabin opens to the environment through human power. Each of the building's shutters can be opened and closed with hand wheels that move the shutters over the glazed portions of each facade. The shutters are operated by a series of mechanical devices including a hand wheel, drive shafts, u-joints, spur gears and cables.